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Daniel Foran


DPhil Student & Clinical Research Fellow

  • DPhil Student - Antoniades Group, University of Oxford
  • BRC Clinical Research Fellow in Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Medical Doctor (Senior House Officer) - Oxford University Hospitals Foundation Trust
  • Clinical Teaching Associate - Green Templeton College
  • Clinical Skills Faculty Tutor - University of Oxford
  • Clinical Tutor for the LabMed course - University of Oxford
  • Junior Dean - Pembroke College
  • Head of Operations - MedViS Ltd

Translational Cardiovascular Research: the role of crosstalk between adipose tissue and the cardiovascular system; and identifying new therapies and targets for the treatment of cardiometabolic dysfunction

​I am a medical doctor having completed my undergraduate medical degree at Imperial College London with a 1st class (hons) intercalated BSc in Endocrinology. After graduating, I undertook my FY1 and FY2 training years at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford as part of an academic foundation programme. During my AFP, I worked with Murry Polkinghorne in the Antoniades group on the role of Ceramide C16 in Cardiovascular Disease, learning a number of basic science and laboratory techniques over course of the 2 years. I subsequently secured a BRC-funded place to study for a DPhil under Professor Antoniades and Professor Channon here in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Oxford.

Diabetes and obesity are increasingly important risk factors for cardiovascular disease in general and more specfically atherosclerosis. Through insulin resistance, inflammation, and dysregulated redox signalling, obesity and diabetes are implicated in a complex pathophysiological network of pathways that develop and precipitate atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, adipose tissue has recently been identified as a dynamic source of bioactive molecules implicated in cardiometabolic dysfunction, though the pathophysiological pathways behind cardiometabolic dysfunction and disease are incompletely understood at present. My work focuses on better characterising the crosstalk between adipose tissue and the cardiovascular system with the intention of identifying therapeutic targets for future medications or repurposing existing medications in order to improve the medical management of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.

Previous work from the Antoniades group has identified that patients with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease can exhibit vascular insulin resistance regardless of diabetic status, and that this vascular insulin resistance may incite vascular endothelial dysfunction, oxidative stress, and progression of atherosclerotic disease in the presence of insulin. This explains why, in the context of increasing comorbid insulin resistance in atherosclerosis patients, insulin alone does not improve cardiovascular outcomes. Our work also identified that dipeptidyl-peptidase-IV inhibition may hold the key to reversing the vascular insulin resistance phenotype and that this effect may be mediated through DPPIV substrates.

My project will utilise the Oxford Heart, Vessels, and Fat (Ox-HVF) tissue bioresource, a number of ex-vivo, genetic, and statistical techniques, and translational clinical trials to characterise the role of DPPIV substrates in the modulation of insulin signalling and redox status of the myocardium and vascular endothelium. I will also examine the potential paracrine role of epicardial and perivascular adipose depots in the pathophysiology of insulin resistance, inflammation, and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.

Beyond my research I have a number of extracurricular interests including providing weekly bedside teaching to the clincal medical students of Green Templeton College, running the UK-based branches of the MedViS simulation programme, rowing with the Pembroke College Boat Club, and performing musical theatre everywhere and anywhere!

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